Mikel Arteta admits there’s a chance Takehiro Tomiyasu won’t feature again this season after the Japan international picked up a knee injury in Thursday’s Europa League defeat to Sporting Lisbon.
The Japan international had to be substituted within 10 minutes after slipping on the turf and there’s a fear any ligament damage will require surgery.
After arriving from Bologna, Tomiyasu made himself a first-choice pick at right-back last season but has played second fiddle to Ben White this campaign, making just 14 starts in all competitions.
Speaking after Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Crystal Palace, Arteta was asked for an update on the full-back.
“We don’t know, obviously the doctor is assessing him. We’ve had one assessment, they need to have another assessment tomorrow, but it’s not looking good, that’s for sure,” he told his post-game press conference.
“Looking at Tomi, he’s not someone who exaggerates things. He was really concerned straight away, and we are concerned.”
Tomiyasu wasn’t the only player to pick up an injury in midweek. William Saliba also left the field in the first half complaining of a back problem and has subsequently dropped out of the France squad for their upcoming European Championship qualifiers.
L’Equipe subsequently suggested the defender could miss a few weeks but Arteta is hopeful he’ll be back soon after the Interlull.
“We hope so, and we hope Willy is going to be better news but again we have to wait until tomorrow to understand a better picture,” he said.
Given injuries are part and parcel of top-level football, Arteta says its important that those in reserve are able to step up and fill the void.
Eddie Nketiah did exactly that when Gabriel Jesus underwent knee surgery after the World Cup and Rob Holding, in for Saliba, today proved he too can handle the pressure.
“We have lost players,” said the boss. “We lost Gabby for four months, we lost Thomas for one and a half months, we lost Alex Zinchenko for one and a half months, we lost Elneny for six to eight months, now we lost Eddie and now we lost Tomiyasu and Saliba.
“Everybody has to give more. It’s not a secret, if we want to maintain that level, everyone has to step in, give more and Rob [Holding] is a great example of what we needed today.”